Thursday, September 1, 2011

ALATION Demo Review

Alation – Demo 2011
Self-released, 2011
 Click picture to see more photos of Alation performing last year (23).
Minneapolis-based Alation is keeping their strong momentum going with the recent release of a new two-song demo to follow their killer five-song demo from last year (reviewed here). Overall, I’d have to say that the band does a modern take on thrash metal, but there are many reasons why Alation shines. For one, don’t mistake the thrash influences for this being a retro-hack regurgitation like many signed bands. The closest comparison, musically, is to mid-tempo Testament, with an emphasis on well-crafted melodies and extended guitar solos. Female vocals aren’t a gimmick anymore in extreme metal, and vocalist Angel uses the full range of her capabilities more than most. She can sing clean and with a rough scream with the best of them, but what I love is the way she sings melodies to give the songs a haunting, personal feel. The first song on this latest demo is “Abcess Of Insanity”, which after a powerful introduction leads into a slow, stomping song that kicks in with a vocal melody of the type I was referring to. There’s plenty of guitar fills and solos along the way from Stu and Sawyer, and it’s clear this song is another winner for the band’s catalog. The second song, “Aflame”, appeared on the expanded version of last year’s demo (reviewed here), and I’m not sure if it’s been changed at all for release again here. It doesn’t matter, this is the band’s best song and represents best what Alation is capable of. As I’ve noted previously, “Aflame” has Angel spitting out some vicious vocal barbs while the rest of the band kicks it into high gear, with a acoustic vocal and guitar interlude that progresses into a fast closer for the ambitious, seven-minute track. Alation continue to prove that they’re the real deal, and labels would be wise to start paying attention to this talented, original band that offers a fresh take on thrash-influenced metal that blows away the stale retro-craze still ongoing. See Alation tonight to pick up your copy of this and show ‘em your support, or head over to their Facebook page to stream these and other songs.
Click to watch Alation perform “Aflame” last year in Minneapolis.

Alation performs tonight, Thursday, September 1 at Station 4 in St. Paul with Hollowstone, Urn, Northsky, and Eldergaad. This is a 21+ show with doors at 7:00 and Eldergaad takes the stage at 7:30.

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